Art in context

Nowadays the importance of museums is also measured by their ability to regenerate urban centers. Architects are commissioned to create iconic objects with generic interiors, that become symbols of the cities they are built in. Contemporary museum buildings are places where commerce and culture are blurred. The artwork’s environment is saturated by neutral interiors. The victim of this development is the art piece itself and the spectator.

This project is based on a recent competition for a new art museum in Budapest. “Art in context” describes the optimal spatial conditions to house and truly experience the art collection that is diverse, both in time frame and type. Fundamental to this approach is a deep conviction that art is inseparable from its context - the set of conditions originally meant for it. There are known historic and physical conditions around the art work. Many artists left instructions on how to experience and exhibit their work. In earlier centuries art was highly symbolic and strongly integrated with the complex architecture. Space and art corresponded with each other.

The research, starting from the art, led to the creation of design instruments like poche walls, vaulted ceilings, visual axis and other. Working intuitively in plaster spaces were casted as massive yet hallowed spaces. A library of diverse typologies formed a united body of architecture. A matrix of spaces is organized horizontally in a gradient of diminishing mass. The array of spatial conditions determines the placement of the exhibits and programs. The museum has no corridors and no facades in a traditional manner. The sculptural quality of the facade is a result of sectioning museum’s interiors. Such section, closed off with glass, becomes an urban vitrine. The matrix of spaces creates number of possible sequences.

The innovation of this proposal lies in the combination of specificity in room typology and grid layout. It allows flexibility of configuration and different relations between spaces and objects. Spaces generate meaning which can be treated as variable context for art. It shows a method that allows the museum to remain a relevant cultural enhancer in the rapidly changing future for demanding receivers.

museum design, architecture



Budapest, Hungary

winner Archiprix 2015

Ludo Grooteman